Every so often, someone will say something negative about a comment or post I made, and I feel like trashing this entire site. Why should I keep going when people don't appreciate it? A press of a button and hundreds of articles would disappear.
Then someone will say something positive, and my day brightens again…until the next negative comment.
From the outside looking in, it's easy to ask, “Why should you get discouraged just because some random stranger on the Internet didn't like what you had to say? You know there are a lot of trolls out there.”
Or “You need to ignore that stuff, some people are always negative,” or some other well-meaning advice. All of that is true. But when you've poured your heart and soul into something for years, you can get a little too close to the situation and take things a little too personally.
That's what I want to talk to you about today. While there does come a time when it's better to focus your efforts on a new project, don't give up just because you feel a little discouraged.
Here are three things that have helped me stay the course with this site to the point that there are many thousands of people following along and many of the articles I've written rank on the first page on Google.
3 Ways to Encourage Yourself to Keep Going
1. Look Back at How Far You've Come
It's tempting to compare yourself against others. If I compare this site against a national news source with hundreds of journalists or another website that has been around and active for a decade or more, my success is going to seem very limited.
It's discouraging if I compare this to those types of sites. But if I look back, I can remember when my articles didn't even get any views. Now I get a significant number of views and have lots of testimonials from people who have benefited from my efforts.
If you're discouraged, take a look back to where you were when you started. If you're trying to lose weight, have you lost any since you first started? If so, that's a victory. If you're trying to build a blog, have you gotten any more views than when you first started? If so, that's a victory.
That brings me to my next point.
2. Celebrate the Small Wins
If you want to be a millionaire and your net worth is negative, it's going to take some time. Celebrate paying off your smallest debt. Celebrate being able to pay rent on time this month. Celebrate being able to pay for that repair on your car without borrowing money. Throw yourself a little party when you get $1,000 saved up in your 401k. Keep doing the right things, and given enough time, you'll get there.
If you're running a business, celebrate each sale. Give thanks for being able to pay the light bill. Celebrate helping someone. Do a little dance on the table when you can pay yourself something.
If you're starting a blog, celebrate those first few visitors or comments.
Celebrate the tiny steps, because long journeys are made up of small steps in the right direction.
3. Remember Why You Started
The last point is to remember why you started. For me, I started writing to try and help people avoid some of the mistakes I've made over the years, to share a little of what I've learned. At the time, I figured if I helped even one person, it was worth it.
It's easy for me to get discouraged by one person who says something negative and to forget the hundreds who have said something positive. But if I remember that I started this to help at least one person, I can look back and realize that I accomplished my original goal.
Take a step back and try to remember why you started when you get discouraged. You might find the motivation you need to pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.